McPhee, John Angus

McPhee, John Angus, 1931–, American journalist and nonfiction writer, b. Princeton, N.J., A.B. Princeton, 1953. He was an editor at Time magazine (1957–64) before becoming (1965) a staff writer at The New Yorker. Since 1975 he also has been a professor of journalism at Princeton. McPhee has written more than thirty books, many of them collections of essays that first appeared in The New Yorker. His subjects range from sports stars (his first book, A Sense of Where You Are, 1965, profiles Bill Bradley) to the Scottish highlands (The Crofter and the Laird, 1970) to U.S. nuclear installations (The Curve of Binding Energy, 1974). Encounters with the Archdruid (1972) profiles conservationist David Brower; The Survival of the Bark Canoe (1975), a modern-day craftsman. McPhee explores Alaska and those who live there in Coming into the Country (1977), one of his most popular books. Annals of the Former World (1998; Pulitzer Prize), unites updated versions of four books on U.S. geology with a fifth. Among his seven essay collections, Silk Parachute (2010) is more personal; Draft No. 4 (2017) focuses on writing long-form nonfiction, and The Patch (2018) includes sports pieces and unpublished earlier work.

See O. A. Weltzein and S. N. Maher, ed., Coming into McPhee Country (2003).

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